March 2016 Album of the Month: Crossworm “Drowning In Restricted Thought”

Review by Chad Thomas Carsten @ 8-Bit Dreamland / / Vandala Magazine

Artist: Crossworm Hip-Hop/Electronica Album: Drowning In Restricted Thought Label: Legacy Creative Industries. 5 out of 5 Stars

By Chad Thomas Carsten

Featured inside this months issue of Vandala Magazine

Straight out of Grand, Rapids Michigan! The Godfather of dirtcore (Steve Weatherbie) is back with one of the most highly anticipated underground albums this year and that being his latest album “Drowning In Restricted Thought”, a genre-busting effort that defies any sort of music limitation. It’s hip-hop infused with electronica and industrial, yet it’s more than those genre’s with the way Crossworm is able to sing, scream and he’s capable of bringing forth extraordinarily infectious poppy hooks inside the songs that will capture the hearts of new fans the first time they put on a pair of headphones to listen. The impressive part is Crossworm recorded the album, produced, engineered, mix and mastered, and pressed it up all by himself. It’s super clean sounding and well produced, which is very rare when it comes to the underground. A lot of the underground hip-hop albums that are self released end up having a lot of mixing and mastering issues, but Drowning In Restricted Thought is on par (if not better) than what most major label releases put out professionally. Which proves the dirtcore king is absolutely a maelstrom of musicality.

The track “Just Another Day” is a piano driven metaphorical monster that is a self-awareness warning about the music industry and artists getting suckered into their lies and signing their soul away to the faux entertainment machine. “Just Another Day” is bouncy too. Listeners may end up grooving out in their living rooms with the track on full blast, while putting up their fists against the machine and the song playing endlessly on repeat. “Break” is a strong nod towards the production found within classic KMFDM and newer Linkin Park. It’s as if the two bands somehow mated and gave birth to the single. The way Mr. Weatherbie screams the words beak away, may remind some of Chester Bennington and that’s a good thing! It works and fans will no doubt be grinning ear-to-ear and blowing out their voice boxes trying to imitate Crossworm’s powerful screams. The use of the synth vocoder inside “Break” is genius too!

“He’s got a gun, He says that we all gotta go. Decisions are clouding me.

They got their guns, they’re telling us to get on the ground. They told me don’t make a sound” beautifully sings Crossworm for the track “Police State”; a hip-hop punk influenced anthem about the media starting a race war between the people of America and slowly trying to take away our freedom. “Police State” is somewhat a new age industrial take on N.W.A’s “Fuck The Police”. This could very well be a product that Trent Reznor and Dre Drewould’ve created in the early 1990’s together; even Chuck D. of Public Enemy would be astonished by Crossworm’s presentation of the current police state plaguing the United States today. The ending of the album is a complete surprise. Crossworm cleverly covers Katy Perry’s “Extraterrestrial” and flawlessly nails the pop phenomenon head on! It’s an amazing cover that’s destined to shock the hell out of Katy Perry fans and fully demonstrates Crossworm’s unique talent.

The final verdict; Drowning In Restricted Thought is Crossworm’s greatest release to date in the 15+ years he’s been making dirtcore music.  It’s one of those albums that you can play all the way through without skipping anything. You’ll regret sleeping on this release, so don’t!

For fans of Nine Inch Nails, Cage (the rapper), Twenty One Pilots, and Portishead.